Fighting militancy with heavy metal music


Afp April 07, 2010

MARJAH: US forces have a novel weapon in the fight to expel Taliban from a desolate and warweary farming community in southern Afghanistan – heavy metal music.

When insurgents open fire in Marjah, an armoured vehicle wired up to powerful speakers blasts out country, heavy metal and rock music so loudly it can be heard up to two kilometres away.

The playlist has been hand-selected to annoy the Taliban, according to one US special forces officer. “Taliban hate that music,” said the sergeant involved in covert psychological operation in the area in Helmand province.

“Some locals complain but it’s a way to push them to choose. It’s motivating Marines as well,” he added after one deafening round of several hours including tracks from The Offspring, Metallica and Thin Lizzy. The officer said they also broadcast messages from the Afghan government, as well as threats to the Taliban – there are no obscenities, “but we tell them they’re gonna die,” he smiled.

How effective the method is in sending the Taliban running for cover is difficult to tell but local children certainly don’t like it – many of them cover their ears from the onslaught of loud bass guitars and drums.

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Christmas – the commander of US Marines in northern Marjah – said he was unaware of the musical psy-ops (psychological operations). “It’s inappropriate,” he told AFP, mindful that a major part of the counter-insurgency plan is focused on winning over Afghans from the insurgents. "I’m going to ask this to stop right now."

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